KOCHI:The Central government will immediately release Rs 2 crore to each of the cities selected under the Smart City project for preparation of the smart city plans.
“It is good news that Kochi was selected for the Smart City project even though we had initially given a list of seven cities from the state. We have fewer number of municipalities compared to other states which has ultimately resulted in the allotment of a single Smart City. Had the project been announced five years ago, we would have got at least five Smart Cities. Besides, the Union Urban Ministry has been changing rules of the project without intimating us,” said Kerala Urban Affairs Minister Manjalamkuzhi Ali. It is viewed that the urban stature and a population of 6.02 lakh people were the advantages for Kochi. Under the Smart City project, robust IT connectivity and digitisation as also core infrastructure such as water supply, electricity supply, sanitation, public transport, solid waste management and affordable housing would be ensured in Kochi city. This is in addition to thousands of crores worth investments from the private sector which will be allowed to be recovered through levy of user charges on say water supply or urban transport.
The construction of the other Smart City Kochi, a joint venture of Tecom Investments and Kerala government, began four years ago. The construction of 6.5 lakh sq ft building in the first phase is readying for inauguration.